Utne Blogs > Environment

Intergenerational Birdwatchers Unite!

 by Danielle Maestretti


Tags: Environment, wilderness and wildlife, global warming, bird migration, birds, birdwatching, U.S. Geological Survey, Audubon, Danielle Maestretti,

Song sparrowVolunteers across the country are transcribing 6 million birdwatching observations—handwritten notes catalogued on small index cards, and dating back to 1880—to help researchers figure out how climate change affects bird migration patterns. Audubon interviews Jessica Zelt, coordinator of the U.S. Geological Survey’s North American Bird Phenology Program, which is tapping more than 1,200 volunteers to compile “the most comprehensive data set of its kind.”

“This program is looking at how climate change is affecting migrating bird arrival and departure dates,” Zelt tells Audubon. “Once this information goes into our database, we can analyze it, along with weather and climate data, to see if there are long-term patterns and shifts. It’s possible that climate change affects certain species more than others. Being able to highlight those species and change our own lives to lessen those effects, that’s always a goal.”

Source: Audubon

Image by Noël Zia Lee, licensed under Creative Commons.